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Aegean Airlines narrows loss as sales stage strong rebound

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An Aegean Airlines Airbus A320 taxis as it prepares to take off from Manchester Airport, Britain.
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ATHENS (Reuters) -Aegean Airlines, Greece's largest carrier, reported a smaller loss in the first quarter compared to the same period a year earlier, as passenger traffic recovered from pandemic travel restrictions.

Aegean, a member of the Star Alliance airlines group, reported a net loss of 38.5 million euros ($41.22 million) in the January-to-March period compared to a loss of 44.5 million in the first quarter of 2021. Sales nearly tripled to 120.8 million euros.

Chief Executive Dimitris Gerogiannis said the airline managed to shrink its loss in the first quarter despite the doubling of fuel costs compared to 2019 and the prevalence of the Omicron variant.

"The summer season is showing an especially strong momentum in pre-bookings as well as in higher load factors which are nearing pre-pandemic levels," he said.

The airline flew 1.5 million passengers in the first quarter, with its load factor - a key industry measure of filled seats - improving to 66.1% from 47.5% in the same period last year.

Aegean said it will continue to add capacity and new routes during the summer season, both at home and abroad, and will stick to its investment plan, expecting the delivery of 12 more new Airbus 321 and 320neo jets this year.

The company's cash reserves at the end of March stood at 458.8 million euros, the airline said.

($1 = 0.9341 euros)

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Mark Porter)

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